TCR / 24 October 2023
Civic Type R TCR FL5 claims historic maiden title in Japan
History was made on Sunday as the JAS Motorsport-built Honda Civic Type R TCR FL5 - the latest example of the ultra-successful Japanese front-wheel-drive touring car - claimed its first major title.
The success for M&K Racing in Super Taikyu's ST-TCR division means that all three generations of Civic Type R TCR have won Japan's premier front-wheel-drive endurance crown since 2017; a superb achievement by JAS customer racing teams.
With Okayama's race being the shortest of the year at three hours, M&K reduced its line-up to two drivers; ex-Formula 1 racer Shinji Nakano and Mitsuhiro Endo. The duo qualified their FL5 on pole position and won the race by three laps.
Second, both in qualifying and the race, was the AI Racing Civic - an earlier FK7 example - driven by Masahiko Sakai and Shion Tsujimoto; their result securing the runner-up spot in the points as well.
M&K's title was the 10th for the Civic Type R of 2023 (the other nine being won by FK7s) and an incredible 84th in total.
Ruben Volt ended the season with a second magnificent victory in three races for the Estonian ALM Motorsport squad.
Running with 40kg success ballast for the first time, he snuck onto the fifth row of the grid in qualifying and so was given pole position on Sunday's partially-reversed grid.
From there he lost the lead at the start, but moved back to the head of the field as the field were release from several laps behind the safety car. He finished ninth in the points despite having contested fewer than half the races in the series.
Indonesia Touring Cars
Delta Garage Racing scored a magnificent pole position on the Civic Type R TCR FL5's debut in the Indonesia Sentul Series of Motorsport's touring car race.
Umar Abdullah topped qualifying in the STCR 'Super Touring' race and also started second in the Indonesia Touring Car race in the fastest '3600 Max' class. He did not finish the ITCR race after running into tyre issues and was a non-starter in STCR.
TCR South America
Squadra Martino strengthened their advantage at the head of the Teams' Championship with a trio of solid points finishes at Velocitta.
Ignacio Montenegro was fourth in the opening race at the Brazilian track, but retired early in Race Two with a technical issue. He remains in the series lead with one round to go. Team-mate Juan Manuel Casella was 10th twice.
In the Trophy class Fabio Casagrande - who qualified on pole - finished second and third to close to within 10 points of the series lead with 85 available at the series finale as he chases back-to-back titles. Team-mate Enrique Maglione was third in Race One.
Montenegro was a podium-finisher in the opening race of the weekend - Saturday's encounters both counting for Brazilian Championship points only - as the youngster charged forward from fourth on the grid.
He was a retiree in Race Two however and sits second in the points as a result. Casella was twice a non-finisher while Maglione was third in the Trophy class both times. Maglione and Casagrande are two of four drivers who could be crowned champion at the finale.
The season finale for Restart Racing was in stark contrast to that of a year ago, when Chris Smiley was crowned champion.
This time an electrical issue put his Civic FL5 out of the Brands Hatch opener while running second; the Northern Irishman having hit the front at the start from fourth on the grid and held the lead until well beyond half-distance.
For JAS Development Driver Scott Sumpton - Smiley's team-mate - the day was even worse. After starting ninth, he was hit hard up the rear by a rival driver and eliminated from Race One.
He was then unsighted when trying avoid several cars making contact in front of him on the opening lap of Race Two, became involved in the incident himself and was eliminated on the spot.